“I began to step back. Not because of low confidence, or a fear of public speaking, or an inferiority complex — all of them were about my story, and my skin, and my inability to find a way to belong in spaces for people of color without first justifying and laboriously explaining both.”
Kelly cut off all her hair and started dating Katie. I started chasing around after a guy who looked like Ellen DeGeneres and trying to make sense of the mess in my brain.
“That being said, I’d like to live in a world someday where people don’t automatically assume my body looks and functions a certain way, that makes room for people like me and my experiences.”
“I miss contraband, kumbayahs, and those very few and far between moments where I felt like there was nothing that could stop us.”
“We pass down traditions and knowledge that are unintentionally green or sustainable. We do not call them ‘eco-friendly’ practices, we just do them. I call this passed down knowledge, Abuelita Knowledge because so much of this ‘new age’ practices are the ways in which my grandmas and elders live their lives.”
“It eventually stopped. I don’t know how long it went on for. I’m not sure where I live, but I know it’s not in my body; everything felt like nothing and I didn’t know where that place was.”
“Some days, I really just needed to curl up in a cozy plaid jacket and have all the homo feelings.”
But now my body, which had spent so many years letting me down and making decisions without my consent, had gone and done something absolutely right — and done it better. It had done something other people’s bodies, “healthy” bodies, hadn’t been able to.
It’s a boy, until and unless he tells us otherwise, I thought. It’s a boy who will be raised without gender roles. It’s a boy who will be defined by their heart and mind, not by the organs that happen to be between their legs. It’s a boy who will be loved wholly, deeply, and completely by the two women who created him.
4. You were so much prettier with long hair.
“I once had a life where I could go blocks, miles, months without a stranger standing in my way, saying, ‘Hey girl, where you goin’ in such a hurry?’ I want to take my personal space bubble to the shop and have it re-inflated to its original size, but that chapter of my life seems to be done.”
“After three hours of waiting, the director sits us on the couch amongst three or four other couples. We stare deeply into the camera. I hype myself up. Look into the camera like it is a lover, NO, a hamburger! Look at the camera like it is a hamburger.”
While I started getting some hints that I was trans at an early age, my roots didn’t really take hold until I was older. Here are some of the stops along the way.
My family used to joke that only white people need therapy. Meanwhile, white academics told me that African-Americans merely fabricated ungrounded stigma around psychiatric help. No one ever tells you that the healthcare system is sick.
“Whose sperm is this?” she asked me once. Maybe it was the first time. “It’s mine,” I said. I didn’t know what else to say. I had paid for it. No one else was coming to get it.
“Sad cloud” and “naked Christmas tree” did not make the list. You’re welcome, makers of anti-depressant commercials!
“Like Russia itself, my parents’ instincts are torn. My birth country can’t make up its mind whether it wants its culture to be a part of liberal Europe or conservative Asia, my birth parents can’t make up their minds between simply loving their only child and feeling like there is something fundamentally broken about me now.”
“I guess if I freak the fuck out so much at the prospect of someone reading my journal then I should probably stop doing the things I end up writing about but that seems unattainable at this point in my life.”
“I hated my body and punished it, and it hated me and punished me back. Is that what happened? That’s the thing about getting sick the way I got sick: nailing it down.”
“I did not intend to have any experiences outside the range of what I had previously proven to myself I was comfortable with or could understand. Scully and I both convinced ourselves that this was possible, that it had ever been a possibility.”